Los Angeles: Deadly wildfire roared across the US state of California, killing at least 10 persons, forcing evacuations and destroying homes and businesses in their paths.
The biggest fires burned in the wine country of Napa and Sonoma counties. The fires ignited on Sunday night and Monday and spread with alarming speed because of dry conditions, Calfornia Fire Director Ken Pimlott said at a news conference.
More than 20,000 people have been evacuated, some with little notice. The toll is expected to increase, according to officials. More than 100 people were being treated hospitals for fire-related injuries or health issues including burns, smoke inhalation and shortness of breath. An estimated 1,500 structures have been destroyed and 57,000 acres burned in eight counties.
A wildfire in Anaheim, in Southern California, has spread to 4,000-5,000 acres and burned at least six buildings. The first known fatality occurred as a result of the Redwood Complex fire in Mendocino County, Sheriff spokesperson Capt. Greg Van Patten said. California Fire tweeted two persons died in the Atlas Fire in Napa County. The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office said seven persons had died in Santa Rosa. No additional details were available.
"That number's going to change," Sonoma County Sheriff Robert Giordano said of the toll in his jurisdiction. Officers are still searching for people to evacuate and rescue, he said, and "it's just logical" more bodies will be found. The devastation was significant in Santa Rosa, a town of about 175,000. A large part of the town was evacuated, including Kaiser Permanente Hospital and Sutter Hospital. Authorities imposed a sundown-to-sunrise curfew for parts of the city under evacuation orders. "I'm lucky," Santa Rosa Mayor Chris Coursey said at a news conference.
"My house is fine. My family is fine. My city is not." More than 100 patients were treated at Napa and Sonoma area hospitals because of fire-related injuries and issues, said Vanessa DeGier, spokeswoman for St. Joseph Health. Santa Rosa Memorial also accepted 12 patients from the two nearby hospitals that evacuated, including expectant mothers, she said.
"Our hospitals are beginning to see patients with injuries incurred as a result of evacuation. This includes victims of car crashes and injuries from falling," a statement from St. Joseph Health said. Napa County is dealing with the biggest fires, California Fire said. The Tubbs and Atlas fires each cover about 25,000 acres.
The Patrick fire west of Napa was at 3,000 acres. The Nuns fire in Sonoma County covers 5,000 acres, and firefighters also are battling a 1,500 acre fire at Highway 37 and Lakeville Highway in Sonoma. Alison Crowe, the winemaker for Garnet Vineyards &amp; Picket Fence Vineyards in Napa Valley, said she has not been told to evacuate her home on the western edge of downtown Napa. — (IANS)